BY CHARLIE MONFORTE
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) would complete the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by August 18, in a statement issued at the end of a 10-day meeting in Davao City on August 10.
Under the historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed IN March by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the BTC is tasked to draft the BBL creating a Bangsamoro juridical entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Mindanao (ARMM).
President Aquino failed to deliver on his promise to submit the proposed BBL to Congress during his State of the Nation Address on July 28 as the BTC failed to complete its draft on time.
The 10-day meeting in Davao City of the BTC gave the draft BBL its finishing touches,
MILF peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, also the BTC chairman, led the MILF panel, talking with the government’s chief negotiator, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.
In a joint press statement issued early Sunday night, August 10, after the 10-day meeting, the panels said they “have reached agreement on substantial portions of the document, and have developed a shared understanding of the remaining challenges and unsettled issues, which they will bring back to their principals for further guidance. “
They reiterated their commitment “to finish an agreed draft Bangsamoro Basic Law by August 18, 2014, in order to allow the Office of the President to submit the same to Congress as soon as possible. “
During the ten-day meeting, “discussions took place in plenary as well as in small groups focused on addressing specific issues such as fiscal autonomy and administration of justice,” their joint communique said.
“There were also inputs provided by resource persons coming from the Bangsamoro Development Agency, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the Ateneo School of Government on the matter of development planning and budget transfers to the Bangsamoro,” it said.
Moreover, the panels expressed their appreciation to the members of the International Contact Group, the Third Party Monitoring Team, and Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed “who observed,” and to the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and the Panel of Independent Lawyers “who assisted.”
They also thanked members of Mindanao-based civil society organizations who visited and expressed their support and encouragement.
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission as composed by its Chairman Iqbal and BTC Commissioners Robert Alonto, Pedrito Eisma, Hussein Muñoz, Ibrahim Ali, Said Sheik, Akmad Sakkam and Asani Tammang. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)